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Become A Public Affairs Officer

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Working As A Public Affairs Officer

  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Stressful

  • $59,682

    Average Salary

What Does A Public Affairs Officer Do

Public relations specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. 

Duties

Public relations specialists typically do the following:

  • Write press releases and prepare information for the media
  • Respond to information requests from the media
  • Help clients communicate effectively with the public
  • Help maintain their organization's corporate image and identity
  • Draft speeches and arrange interviews for an organization’s top executives
  • Evaluate advertising and promotion programs to determine whether they are compatible with their organization’s public relations efforts
  • Evaluate public opinion of clients through social media

Public relations specialists, also called communications specialists and media specialists, handle an organization’s communication with the public, including consumers, investors, reporters, and other media specialists. In government, public relations specialists may be called press secretaries. In this setting, workers keep the public informed about the activities of government officials and agencies.

Public relations specialists draft press releases and contact people in the media who might print or broadcast their material. Many radio or television special reports, newspaper stories, and magazine articles start at the desks of public relations specialists. For example, a press release might describe a public issue, such as health, energy, or the environment, and what an organization does concerning that issue.

Press releases are increasingly being sent through the Internet and social media, in addition to publication through traditional media outlets. Public relations specialists are often in charge of monitoring and responding to social media questions and concerns.

Public relations specialists are different from advertisers in that they get their stories covered by media instead of purchasing ad space in publications and on television.

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How To Become A Public Affairs Officer

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree. Employers prefer candidates who have studied public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business.

Education

Public relations specialists typically need a bachelor’s degree in public relations, journalism, communications, English, or business. Through such programs, students produce a portfolio of work that demonstrates their ability to prospective employers.

Training

Entry-level workers typically begin by maintaining files of material about an organization’s activities, skimming and retaining relevant media articles, and assembling information for speeches and pamphlets. After gaining experience, public relations specialists begin to write news releases, speeches, articles for publication, or carry out public relations programs.

Other Experience

Internships at public relations firms or in the public relations departments of other businesses can be helpful in getting a job as a public relations specialist.

Some employers prefer candidates that have experience communicating with others through a school newspaper or a leadership position in school or in their community.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Public relations specialists deal with the public and the media regularly; therefore, they must be open and friendly to maintain a favorable image for their organization.

Organizational skills. Public relations specialists are often in charge of managing several events at the same time, requiring superior organizational skills.

Problem-solving skills. Public relations specialists sometimes must explain how a company or client is handling sensitive issues. They must use good judgment in what they report and how they report it.

Speaking skills. Public relations specialists regularly speak on behalf of their organization. When doing so, they must be able to clearly explain the organization’s position.

Writing skills. Public relations specialists must be able to write well-organized and clear press releases and speeches. They must be able to grasp the key messages they want to get across and write them in a short, succinct way to get the attention of busy readers or listeners.

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Do you work as a Public Affairs Officer?

Public Affairs Officer Jobs

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Public Affairs Officer Career Paths

Public Affairs Officer
Communications Officer Communications Manager
Communications Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Director Marketing Director Development Director
Community Development Director
8 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Manager Marketing Consultant Digital Marketing Consultant
Digital Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
Public Relations Manager Event Manager Director Of Events
Director Of Alumni Relations
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Officer Operations Director Communications Director
Director Of Marketing And Public Relations
6 Yearsyrs
Executive Officer Program Manager Deputy Director
Director Of Public Affairs
8 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Public Relations Consultant Public Relations Director
Director Of Publications Marketing
5 Yearsyrs
Director Of Public Affairs Communications Director
Director, Corporate Communications
10 Yearsyrs
Director Of Public Affairs Communications Consultant Communications Manager
Internal Communications Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Communications Director Public Relations Consultant Public Relations Manager
Manager Of Corporate Communications
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Public Relations Manager
Marketing & Public Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Account Executive Marketing Executive Account Coordinator
Marketing Account Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Specialist Senior Account Executive Public Relations Director
Media Relations Director
5 Yearsyrs
Deputy Director Campaign Manager Communications Coordinator
Media Relations Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Communications Officer Writer And Editor Public Affairs Specialist
Public Affairs Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Public Affairs Specialist Public Relations Specialist
Public Information Officer
6 Yearsyrs
Writer And Editor Senior Writer Managing Editor
Publications Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Operations Officer Program Manager Marketing Manager
Regional Marketing Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Communications Manager Account Director Strategist
Senior Strategist
8 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Public Affairs Officer?

Public Affairs Officer Demographics

Gender

Male

58.2%

Female

40.2%

Unknown

1.6%
Ethnicity

White

59.7%

Hispanic or Latino

15.3%

Black or African American

13.5%

Asian

7.5%

Unknown

4.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.4%

French

15.6%

German

7.3%

Arabic

6.4%

Russian

4.6%

Korean

3.7%

Italian

3.7%

Mandarin

2.8%

Portuguese

2.8%

Chinese

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Swedish

0.9%

Swahili

0.9%

Estonian

0.9%

Turkish

0.9%

Hindi

0.9%

Azerbaijani

0.9%

Bulgarian

0.9%

Wolof

0.9%

Dari

0.9%
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Public Affairs Officer Education

Schools

Defense Information School

11.2%

American University

7.6%

Webster University

6.7%

George Washington University

6.3%

University of Phoenix

6.3%

Liberty University

6.3%

University of Maryland - University College

5.8%

Georgetown University

5.4%

Syracuse University

4.9%

Excelsior College

4.9%

University of Missouri - Columbia

4.5%

Regent University

4.0%

Thomas Edison State University

3.6%

United States Naval Academy

3.6%

University of Oklahoma

3.6%

Troy University

3.1%

Old Dominion University

3.1%

George Mason University

3.1%

University of Iowa

3.1%

Boston University

3.1%
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Majors

Business

17.9%

Communication

14.2%

Journalism

8.9%

Political Science

7.9%

Management

6.0%

Public Relations

5.1%

International Relations

4.2%

Criminal Justice

3.6%

Marketing

3.4%

English

3.3%

History

3.3%

Education

3.0%

Public Administration

3.0%

Agricultural Public Services

2.5%

Liberal Arts

2.5%

Human Resources Management

2.5%

Law

2.5%

Psychology

2.2%

Business Communications

2.2%

Photography

1.8%
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Degrees

Bachelors

39.1%

Masters

35.9%

Other

13.8%

Certificate

3.7%

Doctorate

3.3%

Associate

3.2%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.3%
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Top Skills for A Public Affairs Officer

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  1. Public Affairs
  2. Press Releases
  3. Command Information
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Coordinated with public affairs staff, stringers, and unit representatives to manage community relations initiatives.
  • Generate press releases and informational emails for Department-wide dissemination to promote science policy fellowships and global science campaigns.
  • Developed, directed, reviewed, and conducted comprehensive Command Information, Public Information/Media Relations, and Community Relations programs.
  • Guide subordinate commands regarding national security restrictions on public information and community relations programs.
  • Supervised the Integrated Communications Team and coordinated all BRAC (Based Realignment and Closure) news stories and interviews.

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